Reworked MLT Bulkhead

For the past 5 years or so I’ve mashed using my 10-gallon Gott cooler with one of Northern Brewer’s bulkhead kits.  I never was perfectly happy with the bulkhead as it would occasionally leak and it is insecure/wobbly by nature because it’s trying to sandwich two pieces of plastic separated by foam. And you if think about a leak on this bulkhead design your wort is going in between the cooler walls, gross.

So today I cut out the outer shell leaving just the inner liner, and I redid the bulkhead to only sandwich that inner liner.  It’s much sturdier now.  Photos and descriptions follow.

Here is how much shell I dremel’d away.  In retrospective I should have cut away some more to make getting my fingers around the locknut easier.

Shell Cutaway

I’m using a fully-close nipple instead of the almost-closed nipple that came with the original kit.  That slight reduction in length lets me clamp down on the inner shell.

Closed Nipples

Here is a chunk of the wort-soaked foam from in between the cooler walls.  Thankfully the expanding foam they use forms a good seal along the walls so my wort leaks didn’t seep very far in.

Moldy Foam
Moldy Foam

To be able to get a better clamp on the wall I’m using a big 1/2″ silicone washer.

Big Silicone Washer

And the finished product.  The ball valve had enough thread to get a good seal and a leak test passed.

Bulkhead Exterior